Skip to main content
Return with Trauma: Understanding the Experiences of Early Returned Missionaries
Issues in Religion and Psychotherapy (2015)
  • Kristine J. Doty, Utah Valley University
  • S. Zachary Bullock
  • Harmony Packer
  • Russell T Warne
  • James Westwood
  • Thomas Ash
  • Heather Hirsche
This paper discusses the results of a mixed methods study designed to understand the phenomenon of receiving an early release from missionary service. Researcher interviewed 12 early returned missionaries (ERMs) and surveyed 348 ERMs. The results indicated far more missionaries returned for mental or physical illness than for reasons of transgression. ERMs who struggled with mental health issues in the field received treatment prior to their early release, but the majority believed the therapy and medication were ineffective. Most ERMs experienced feelings of failure and had difficulties with post-mission adjustment. Clinical implications include the need for families and leaders to avoid pressuring ERMs to return to the mission field, and for ERMs to maximize spiritual coping strategies.
  • LDS missionaries,
  • Mormon,
  • early returning missionaries,
  • mixed methods research,
  • counseling,
  • counseling psychology,
  • religion
Publication Date
December, 2015
Citation Information
Kristine J. Doty, S. Zachary Bullock, Harmony Packer, Russell T Warne, et al.. "Return with Trauma: Understanding the Experiences of Early Returned Missionaries" Issues in Religion and Psychotherapy Vol. 37 Iss. 1 (2015) p. 33 - 45
Available at: